Monday, 19 July 2010

Man-sized appetite

You know how it is - your stomach's as empty as Alex Reid's brainpan and you happen to wander past the window of a local patisserie. Peering in at the goodies on display, you spy a spectacular arrangement of little cakes, covered in butter icing, sprinkles and other assorted decorative goodies.

But something stops you from going in. There's something just a little too feminine about cupcakes - so you keep on walking and buy a kebab instead. With extra chilli sauce, just to ensure that no-one questions your masculinity. Once you get home, you quietly gulp down the slimy slices of reformed mutton, stifling your sobs and quietly cursing the unspoken judgement of others.

OK, so maybe you don't know how it is. Perhaps that's a rather melodramatic take on the situation. But there must be something in that scenario, otherwise Sky News wouldn't have felt the need to cover the story of the Butch Bakery - which makes 'manly cakes for manly men'.

Founded by a former 'asset backed securities attorney' called David Arrick, the bakery was intended to combine a masculine aesthetic with a traditionally cute product. David was apparently incensed by a magazine article that claimed cupcakes represented everything "pink, sweet, cute, and magical" and decided that his favourite foodstuff needed butching up.

So he set about creating a range of mouthwatering treats that tough guys could proudly enjoy on the building site, the football pitch or in the dark room. He may have designed his cupcakes to be 'manly' but the fact is, they're even gayer than the traditional pink, sparkly variety.

With names like The Campout, Big Papi, Driller and Jackhammer, David's baked goodies sound like the kind of movies you can only pick up in 'specialist' stores. It's all trying just a little too hard to be masculine - from the steel-plate logo to the camouflage disc on top of the B52. It's almost as though he designed the cakes according to his favourite bar's nightly dress code.

In the gay world, butch is just another form of drag. A chance to dress up in costume and act out a fantasy. And that's precisely what these cakes represent. Sure, you can fill a gift box with beer-infused buttercream and 'crumbled bacon' toppings - but straight men just don't get excited about ganache. From my experience, they don't use the word 'butch' either, unless they're talking about the bulldog in those old Tom & Jerry cartoons.

Although David has been receiving orders from as far afield as Australia, the majority of his business is local - the website proudly declares that it delivers to Queens*. No surprise there then...

*as well as Greater Manhattan, New York and Brooklyn.

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